Everything they do is done for people to see. Matthew 23:5a
Read: Matthew 23:5-7
Listen: Matthew 23
The Pharisees were all about people recognizing how important or religious they were. In Luke 11:43, Jesus goes after their desire to be noticed and respected. They wanted the best seats in the synagogue. They loved it when people addressed them with honor in the marketplace. Matthew’s account of Jesus’ life says, “Everything they do is for people to see” (Matthew 23:5a). The Pharisees wanted people to recognize how religious they were and honor them. It wasn’t about growth or serving others. It was all about pride.
Their selfishness misses it, and our selfishness misses it too. We live in a culture obsessed with image. We meticulously curate our online profiles. We take so many pictures of our food that it gets cold. We present a portrait of our lives online that isn’t entirely honest. Even when we do something for someone else, we often only do it for what we get. That’s not the Jesus way. One way we can know we are serving God and not looking for recognition is whether we would do the thing if no one ever noticed.
Even our spiritual practices can lead to pride in our lives. We can be tempted to talk about them to make people think we are so spiritual. We might brag about how much Scripture we’ve memorized, how often we’ve shared our faith, how many Bible studies we are in or how regularly we journal. Those aren’t bad things—but when they become sources of pride, we’re still missing it.
IN YOUR CHAIR TIME TODAY
Work on becoming a servant, not an honor-seeker. Find one act of service you can do today that no one will notice. Ask God to help you do it out of love for Jesus and not out of pride. Then do it.
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